Lu, Zhipeng (2009-08). Design for the Frail Old: Environmental and Perceptual Influences on Corridor Walking Behaviors of Assisted Living Residents. Doctoral Dissertation.
Regular walking has several physical and psychological benefits for frail older
people. However, many residents in long-term care facilities are too sedentary to achieve
these benefits. Indoor walking appears to be a feasible way to promote active living
among these residents and yet, there is little research that has been done in this regard.
The researcher conducted two studies in Central Texas to explore how corridor
design features influenced indoor walking behaviors among assisted living residents. In
the first study, the researcher carried out six focus groups with 50 assisted living
residents, discussing how they perceived the indoor corridor as "walkable." Residents
reported that a walkable corridor should be safe, comfortable, and having
beautiful/interesting things to see. In the second study, the researcher further examined
the relationship between the built environment and walking behaviors among 326
residents from 18 facilities in a major city of Texas. The results indicated that 'perceived
looped corridor' and 'number of stories' were significantly associated with residents' frequencies of indoor recreational walking. In addition, the availability and quality of
sitting space around mailbox areas influenced the number of "walking to mailbox" trips.
This research provides empirical evidence to develop activity-friendly facility
design guidelines, and to create environmental interventions to facilitate active lifestyles
among long-term care residents.